Virtual meetings became popular, as meetings between groups of individuals that support regional and provincial visions, further benefiting communities of people who faced the barrier of travel to attend meetings that included local. Most notably with diverse boards managing Non-Profit aims. Within my local community, called a hub city and gateway to and from Northern BC, we host many diverse groups. We know remoteness here. Many communities establish an Advisory Committee for Accessibility like this one in my home community to identify seasonal and infrastructure barriers. I don’t know if that’s a population initiative for every diverse size of the community. For those that have that civic committee, it was recently changed beyond British Columbia to add the title of ‘Inclusion’, to identify barriers to inclusion within the community. The first virtual meeting I had was via telephone connecting representatives in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, 2 communities in Northern BC, and Prince George facilitating via me. We did that before 2010, leading to the future in more than my local MS community, as some meetings allowed directors to call in nationally after that trial. I had led a local group of MS-afflicted persons from 2005 to 2022.
Through that group, which is not a real non-profit group registered within the province or any political boundary, I knew of an international support community for this affliction. That international community influenced my personal MS primary education at WebMD in a much longer story of me. That wasn’t just for non-profits with diverse guiding boards, I found. The business of a province or nation has local and remote offices, diverse stakeholders, and multiple offices across vast tracts of land—nations across borders and oceans. They are all controlled by boards. I began in 2005 to facilitate a group for the local Multiple Sclerosis community. We connected it to the city, province and nation, via phone, face-to-face meetings and email so limited. We then needed to connect to move productive non-profits forward shaping communities. Fast forward, and thanks to the MS groups of Northern BC inspiring MS Canada to support from those early versions, a Zoom connection connecting remote diverse groups formed as Multiple Sclerosis-afflicted persons often volunteer their time to assist powerful groups. It was strengthening the need for remote communications, due mostly to the virus fear beyond the remoteness of British Columbia, including Northern. It was the Medical Community which included Multiple Sclerosis experienced persons in the mix of ‘British Columbians with medical experience‘ with universities partnering with BC Health who introduced ‘Telehealth’ throughout BC’s Northern Communities, now Digital Health in Canadian Health Authorities that identified the way to overcome remoteness beginning with next-door neighbours.
They all drive communication changes. Large and small businesses had the same needs for communities and regions as the non-profits. A few years before the Pandemic that brought COVID-19 and those years forcing changes to all live meetings, the software suddenly had diverse options other than Microsoft Teams, Skype, AOL, Facebook Messenger, or another App. Zoom became popular. Free, seamless international communication. Face to face, virtually. Artificial intelligence for translation got way better and was also free. It was available just before that pandemic and now all levels from Non-Profits to big businesses are struggling to bring employees back to the office full-time, now that 2023 brought full Endemic action to the country.
The Artificial Intelligence addition to Zoom paid accounts, a recent addition I’ve not tried yet, looks innocent enough. Chats I cannot type fast enough to ask a presenter a question when the subject comes up. I might master when asked a question I have to type out. Even some answers typed out don’t come fast to keep up with the speaking without it. As the presenter, it generates notes on what to say, cue card style. Meh simply amplified brainless activity. Will it take away from creativity? I guess we’ll have the chance to try it. Presently, I’m trying to create meetings hybrid in the future. I am president of one meeting group for a non-profit that has never gone ‘remote’, and another civic group, not a non-profit, that has been hybrid since the beginning of the pandemic. I might become a professional board member in some predictable future, getting paid to visualize a path for a company that isn’t a Non-Profit. You could be, too. As the person signing my cheques, or perhaps I’ll sign yours in the future.